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The Legacy of Joseph Coors

The following is a statement from Heritage Foundation President Edwin Feulner on the death of Joseph Coors. The Colorado brewer made it possible for Heritage to open its doors with a $250,000 grant in 1972 to the think tank. Coors was the original funder of Heritage and subsequently earned the title of honorary trustee, founder and recipient of Heritage's highest honor—the Clare Boothe Luce award.

"Without Joe Coors, The Heritage Foundation wouldn't exist—and the conservative movement it nurtures would be immeasurably poorer. Thanks in large part to Joe, though, we can look back on a record of accomplishment that stretches back three decades.

"Joe was there when most people scoffed at the notion of launching a 'conservative think tank'—when the very idea of a Heritage Foundation appeared risky. But he believed in good ideas, risky or not, and putting them into action. Fortunately, he thought The Heritage Foundation—a think tank that would aggressively counterattack liberal thinking in Washington with solid, timely research on public policy issues—was a good idea. The rest, as they say, is history.

"Joe is gone now, no doubt having a beer with his pals who have been waiting for him in heaven. But Heritage, the idea that he nurtured 30 years ago, remains and thrives. It's now a permanent institution in Washington and the nation itself, working to make America a place where freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society flourish."

"May Joe Coors—my mentor and friend—rest in peace. He earned it."


Quotes graphic

"Joseph Coors was a patriot, in a country where political correctness has made that title something to be embarrassed over. He supported those overseas on the front lines of the fight for freedom, and supported those here at home who fought the culture war over what vision of morality would guide this country, with both feet firmly planted in the time tested values that made this country great, and that progressives are always trying to convince us are passe.

The key question of anyone's life is always the same...did you count? Did you have an impact for the better? Joseph Coors counted and had impact...and he made a good beer."  Hannity quote

 

"Joe Coors was a man who was blessed with great fortune, who was willing to put that fortune behind the ideas for freedom in which he believed so passionately. Nothing better illustrated this than his founding grant in 1973, without which the Heritage Foundation would never have gotten started. It was his support and advice that led Heritage to become the influential think tank it is today. He was also a trusted advisor to Ronald Reagan, as a member of a band of unique men known as the "Kitchen Cabinet." His contributions were many and his legacy benefits millions of people he never met."  Meese quote

 

"I think it's fair to say that there would not be the modern conservative movement without Joe Coors."  Weyrich quote

 


"You can't summarize a hero; and Joe Coors was one of mine. But perhaps I can retrieve the essence of Joe for you - with a couple of observations not previously shared elsewhere.

The year 1970 wasn't a particularly good year for beating the conservative drum in public. That was the year Joe scoured the country to find an organization or an idea that could bring conservative principles into the middle of the public policy debates. He found some folks with the idea. They did not find him! When they saw in Joe their own vision, courage and fervor, they quit their secure jobs in the Senate - and went to work with Joe to develope the strategy and tactics that became The Heritage Foundation in 1973.

By example, Joe had given them permission to believe that it was ok to commit their lives to the freedom philosophy.

Joe and I served on the Heritage board from day one; and we made most of the meetings. I mention that by way of sharing that never, ever--under any circumstances or rationale--did Joe grind his own axe; and he wasn't shy in debate. What he brought to the table was an honest forthrightness tempered with loyalty and a respect for team effort. His sons reflect this: Permission. My guess is that there are many thousands of men and women out there who have been inspired by Joe's "permission". Who are your permission givers? It will never be too late for any of us to claim Joe Coors as ours."
  Rench quote

 

"Joe Coors was the indispensable man for Heritage. He gave us our very first grant. He guided us wisely through our first years. He enthusiastically endorsed our first major publication, "Mandate for Leadership." He made it possible for us to move into our headquarters building. He was always there when we needed him. Joe Coors was colleague, friend, mentor, about whom we can truly say--he was the founding father of The Heritage Foundation."

- Dr. David R. Brown, Chairman of the Board of Trustees
The Heritage Foundation, March 17, 2003

"Because Joseph Coors believed in the power of conservative ideas, he helped to start several of the most important institutions of the American conservative movement. He was a gentle giant on whose broad shoulders the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation and other conservative organizations today stand."  Edwards quote

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Photo Gallery

Vice President Dick Cheney, Ann Coors, Joseph Coors, Margaret Thatcher, and Edwin Feulner
Vice President Dick Cheney, Anne Coors, Joseph Coors, Margaret Thatcher, and Edwin Feulner at The Heritage President's Club event in December of 2002.

Heritage Founders Ed Noble, left, and Joseph Coors at the dedication of Founders' Hall in 1999. Founders' Hall is located at The Heritage Foundations headquarters and is named after Noble, Coors, and Richard Mellon Scaife. Their contribution has helped make Heritage what it is today.
Heritage founders Ed Noble, left, and Joseph Coors at the dedication of Founders' Hall in 1999. Founders' Hall is located at The Heritage Foundations headquarters and is named after Noble, Coors, and Richard Mellon Scaife. Their contribution has helped make Heritage what it is today.
David A. Brown, The Heritage Foundation's Chairman of the Board of Trustees with Joseph Coors after Coors received the Clare Boothe Luce award in 1999.
David R. Brown, The Heritage Foundation's Chairman of the Board of Trustees with Joseph Coors after Coors received the Clare Boothe Luce award in 1999.

Joseph Coors at The Heritage Foundation
Joseph Coors at Founders Hall.


Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees members Ed Krieble, Lew Lehrman, and Joseph Coors at a meeting in the 1980's.
Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees members Ed Feulner, Bob Dee, Bob Krieble, Lew Lehrman, and Joseph Coors at a meeting in the 1980's.

Joseph Coors speaks during the dedication of The Heritage Foundation's former headquarters at 519 C St. NE in May 1980.
Joseph Coors speaks during the dedication of The Heritage Foundation's former headquarters at 519 C St. NE in May 1980.